The Tigers just announced that they’ve reached a one-year deal with Phil Coke.
Coke’s a lefty specialist that, presumably, will be paid like a lefty specialist. Of course, early in the year he was given a shot at the closer’s role as Jim Leyland cast about for replacements for Jose Valverde. Coke did poorly with that before injuring his groin. After he came back he was demoted to Triple-A Toledo for a while. Just a lost year in which he only mustered a 5.40 ERA and 30/21 K/BB ratio over 38 1/3 innings.
Coke earned $1.85 million in 2013 and was arbitration-eligible. He probably would have been non-tendered, though, so the guess is that this is a pretty cheap deal.
Cubs infielder/outfielder Ben Zobrist has been placed on the 10-day disabled list with back soreness. The move is retroactive to April 14. While it doesn’t appear to be the precursor to any serious injury, Zobrist has already missed six straight days of activity after feeling his back tighten up last weekend. Should he see the minimum time on the DL, as expected, he’ll be eligible to return by the start of the Cubs’ series against the Indians on Tuesday.
Prior to his injury, the 36-year-old outfielder raked an impressive .326/.408/.465 with three extra-base hits in 49 plate appearances. He last appeared for the Cubs during their homestand last weekend and helped propel the team to a 14-10 win over the Braves with three hits, two walks and two RBI. Provided that he can remain healthy going forward, it’s a promising start for the veteran outfielder, who has yet to return to the All-Star-worthy numbers he posted with the club in 2016.
With Zobrist sidelined for the time being, Ian Happ and Albert Almora Jr. have shared the leadoff spot and center field duties over the last week. Happ went 0-for-8 with six strikeouts in two games before passing the baton to Almora, who collected five hits and two RBI in 11 at-bats.